Along the banks of False River near New Roads, antebellum and French colonial homes dating to the 1700' and 1800's are nestled among the moss-draped oaks and magnificent magnolia trees. Here in Creole French plantation country, the landscape is graced with lush fields of sugar cane, cotton and vast pecan orchards. Louisiana's Pointe Coupee Parish is located in the heart of Creole French plantation country, just a short trip on the new John James Audubon bridge (the longest cable stayed bridge in the western hemisphere) across the Mississippi River from St. Francisville and English plantation country in West Feliciana Parish. The contrast between the two parishes (the people, their land and their rich history), is fascinating and offers visitors one of the only places in the United States to experience two diverse cultures right across the river from each other.
French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne, sieur d'Iberville and his brother, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, sailed from Brest, France in late 1698, arriving at the lower Mississippi River in 1699 to establish a colony in the New World for King Louis XIV. While the explorers and their traveling party were out exploring the land, their Indian guides led them along a six foot wide stream through dense forest. The explorers were mystified to find a point where the huge river doubled back on itself, forming an oxbow. That site was later named "la Pointe Coupee," the place of the cut off. The fort "Poste de Pointe Coupee" was established by Bienville in 1717 at a site known later as Waterloo. The fort was moved in 1722 to an area near the present St. Francisville Ferry landing.
Over the years, nature widened the stream which became the riverbed for the mighty Mississippi. Eventually, both ends of the giant oxbow closed, forming a 22-mile horseshoe-shaped lake. This lake was known as "la Fausee Riviere", and is now named False River.
The rich, alluvial lands where once the Mississippi River flowed attracted farmers. Tobacco and indigo were grown initially, and now sugar cane and other varieties of crops are grown,such as, pecans, cotton, soybeans, corn and rice are raised in the fertile soil.
The United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. With the enactment of the Louisiana Constitution of 1812, Pointe Coupee became one of the State of Louisiana's 12 original parishes.
Pointe Coupee Parish has long been called "The Cradle of Public Education in Louisiana". In March 1808, a Louisiana law was enacted providing for parish school boards. Pointe Coupee was the first parish in the state to implement the Act and establish public schools.
In 1975, the first "Tuscaloosa Trend" natural gas discovery was made in Pointe Coupee Parish and was claimed to be the richest mineral deposit in Louisiana.
Today, Pointe Coupee Parish is best known for its agriculture, recreation and tourism industries. It is also the home of LA Generating's Big Cajun I & II electric generating stations as well as the Nan-Ya Plastics Industrial Complex.
Agriculture is the largest income-producer in Pointe Coupee Parish, with gross revenues of about $50 million annually. Pointe Coupee is the top pecan-producing parish in the state, with some of the best quality nuts grown anywhere. The fastest expanding crops in the parish are sugar cane and cotton while soybeans, corn, wheat and grain sorghum (milo) are other major crops. Livestock production of beef cattle is another major agricultural force in the region.
False River, considered a trophy bass lake, has held the state record for the largest bass caught although all water sports are enjoyed here. In upper Pointe Coupee Parish is Old River, a smaller oxbow-shaped lake with great fishing and recreation potential.
The French plantation country heritage of Pointe Coupee Parish is evident in the many historic homes of the area, many of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A unique feature of these Pointe Coupee homes is that these are truly family homes - none are museum only restorations. Pointe Coupee is also graced with elegantly refurbished Bed and Breakfast opportunities.
Pointe Coupee Parish is home to approximately 23,500 people and boasts three banks, a modern hospital and health care facilities, educational institutions at all levels and easy access to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and the rest of Louisiana. A general aviation airport and modern, accessible port facility round out the business advantages of Pointe Coupee Parish.
Interesting Parish Facts
The parish contains 15,360 acres of water; 75,000 acres of pastures; and, 150,000 acres of forests. Bordered on three sides by inland waterways - Old River, the Atchafalaya River and the Mississippi River. Pointe Coupee Parish is best known for its water and outdoor recreation activities.